CONSTRUCTING A NEW FUTURE “There was a time when administrators would make a decision, and they would sell it to their clinical staff. Now there is a lot more collaboration – getting people to provide their ideas early and provide input as the project develops,” Whitcraft said. “Every meeting we have, we say ‘Plus/Delta’ – that kind of collaboration is needed. Getting real feedback gives us the best chance of building the glove that’s going to fit.” Giving on-the-ground teams the skills and power to satisfy issues as they arise is also important, notes Ashcroft. “By coordinating construction activities far in advance, we can anticipate problems and get out in front of them,” he said. “But it’s also about adaptability. When you hear something from the nurse manager who has a tough case and needs us to stop doing whatever we’re doing for a little bit, that’s an opportunity. By empowering the hospital, people feel engaged in the process. That helps everyone set expectations. You’ve got the power to do it – but you use it very wisely.” Construction experts note that speed-to-market, budgets and the impact on patient care are all factors in executing successful healthcare construction projects in DFW. Through carefully detailed construction plans, technology to help with noise and infection control, and utilizing pre- fabrication opportunities for items that can be built before arriving to an active healthcare site, builders can create the kind of positive construction outcomes that their North Texas clients are demanding. In addition to staying out of the way of the people providing patient care during construction, Jouvenal explains that interfacing with clinical teams as projects are being designed is important. As the requirements of medical buildings and hospitals continue to get more complex, deeper levels of expertise are needed, and construction teams rely on collaboration and teamwork with all project stakeholders to ensure success. “Recently, we’ve seen a trend of physicians, surgeons and nurses becoming a bigger part of the design process, so we do our best to ensure a great relationship and open lines of communication with hospital staff, maintenance, engineering and administration,” Jouvenal said. “At Children’s Health Specialty Center 2 in Plano, our team created a full-size mockup of an operating room and invited surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses to provide feedback as to placement of tables, equipment, furniture, and electrical outlet locations to ensure the completed facility will meet their needs.” An integral part of McCarthy’s healthcare building process involves Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), a method of generating and managing digital representations of projects via software. Virtual reality helps teams resolve possible building/design issues early in the healthcare design process. “VDC allows our clients and partners to make informed decisions more efficiently, it provides cost savings and it improves safety and increased collaboration on the job site,” Jouvenal said. 20 WWW.NTC-DFW.ORG SUMMER 2018 Patients with Perspective and Choice When North Texans need care, they are more educated as to how to find that care. They also perceive quality when they walk into a facility, Whitcraft notes. “People know a nice, quality place when they go in,” he said. “The patient, the consumer, is way more educated than we used to be. You don’t just go to the nearest hospital – you’re looking for who’s got the best doctors and the best services and amenities,” Ashcroft explained. “That will continue to drive our construction activities as everyone tries to keep up and serve patient needs. There’s a lot of choice out there.” Texas is a state that does not require a “certificate of need” for new healthcare facilities, so construction happens as the healthcare organizations deem it necessary. That flexibility, combined with large economic and population growth, has attracted many commercial builders to the area to build that next facility. “It’s the finest competition for healthcare construction anywhere in the country,” Whitcraft notes. But the need for specialized skills, teams and expertise make healthcare construction in North Texas a high threshold to entry. The push to build better in DFW attracts healthcare industry experts from across the country to look at construction being done in North Texas and how, as part of national “go-and-see” initiatives. We’re We’re upgrading upgrading our our natural natural gas gas pipelines pipelines from from the the ground ground up. up. It’s It’s how how we we invest invest in in homes, homes, lives lives and and generations. generations. Over all, though, it’s a passion for the project that keeps healthcare constructors innovating. “I do think it’s a higher end of construction because it does require so much thinking and people, not to mention experience. Ultimately, you’re involved with people’s lives,” Whitcraft said. “As I was growing up, I unfortunately had family that was in and out of the hospital for many years and that really resonated with me,” Crawford said. “I thought, ‘If I can ever build anything that was impactful for people and their families, it would be a place of healing.’ Obviously, hospitals are a place of healing. It’s certainly a passion of mine today. When we build a healthcare project, it’s about making people feel better about themselves, mentally and physically. It still resounds with me today and has throughout my career.” Atmos Energy is committed to being the Atmos Energy is committed to being the safest natural gas provider in the nation. safest natural gas provider in the nation. That’s why we’re investing more than That’s why we’re investing more than $750 million a year in system upgrades $750 million a year in system upgrades in Texas. It’s how we provide you with in Texas. It’s how we provide you with safe and reliable natural gas service for safe and reliable natural gas service for generations to come. generations to come.